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June 2013- Archives

Honesty and self-doubt: CNF reader Christin Geall

As we prepare to unveil the shortlist for the 2013 Creative Nonfiction Competition, we're asking the readers what it's like to read hundreds of short stories in search of the best. Christin Geall on the challenges of creative nonfiction and how, as a reader, she responds to diction and syntax before...

Announcing the winner of the Strong Beginnings Twitter Challenge

It was a Friday. And it was the first day of summer. But did that keep you from participating in our 10-hour Strong Beginnings Twitter Challenge? Not in the least....

Do more with less: CNF reader Marcello Di Cintio

As we prepare to unveil the shortlist for the 2013 Creative Nonfiction Competition, we're asking the readers what it's like to read hundreds of short stories in search of the best. Here's Marcello Di Cintio on looking for strong openings and the bravery it takes to write certain stories....

Strong Beginnings All-Stars

We received more than 1,500 submissions to our Strong Beginnings Twitter Challenge. Thank you to all our participants!A big thank you also to our partner for this challenge—Toronto's Luminato Festival—and our wonderful readers: Sally Cooper, Andrew Kaufman, Jessica Westhead, Grace O'Connell, and Matthew Tierney. ...

Seekers and detectives: CNF reader Julija Šukys

As we prepare to unveil the shortlist for the 2013 Creative Nonfiction Competition, we're asking the readers what it's like to read hundreds of stories in search of the best. Here's Julija Šukys on her squeaky clean street cred, balancing the personal and the universal, and the compelling nature of ambivalence....

Terminally unhip: CNF reader Kamal Al-Solaylee

As we prepare to unveil the shortlist for the 2013 Creative Nonfiction Competition, we're introducing the readers who read hundreds of your stories in search of the best. Here's Kamal Al-Solaylee on liking show tunes, teaching journalism, and being imaginative but not cavalier with facts....

Strong Beginnings Twitter Challenge is closed!

And it's a wrap! Thank you to everyone who participated! A big thank you also to our partner for this challenge—Toronto's Luminato Festival—and our wonderful readers:Sally Cooper, Andrew Kaufman, Jessica Westhead, Grace O'Connell, and Matthew Tierney. If you'd like to hear more from them, and you live in the Toronto area, you can catch them tomorrow at Luminato's Literary...

Seven Tips for Strong Beginnings

In light of our collaboration with Toronto's festival of the mind Luminato, we reached out to featured Canadian writers to find out how they begin their work. We also asked them what advice they had on how to start your writing off on the right foot. Here's what they had to say:...

The Plan: Winner of the Caption This Comic Challenge

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Caption This Comic Challenge! The public has voted and the winner is......

In Good Hands: Strong Beginnings with Jessica Westhead

Punctuality is generally appreciated. But when it comes to writing your opening, start later than you think you should and give your reader a little bit of credit!In light of our collaboration with Toronto's festival of the mind Luminato, we have reached out to Canadian writers to find out how they...

Excerpt: And Also Sharks by Jessica Westhead

We are collaborating with the Luminato Festival, and reaching out to Canadian writers to find out about the decisions they made when choosing to open their most recent works.Here is an excerpt from Jessica Westhead's collection of short stories And Also Sharks. Afterwards, be sure to check out our Q&A with her...

Peter Mansbridge on Peter Mansbridge

Last week we presented a pretty creative (and funny) drawing tip from cartoonist Matthew Forsythe. He made it seem so easy, capturing the likeness of one of Canada’s most beloved newscasters in an illustration.We then asked you to send us your inspired drawings of the news man himself. We were totally impressed...

Starting In Medias Res: Strong Beginnings with Sally Cooper

Sometimes you have to go for the end without being fully aware of the means.In light of our collaboration with the Luminato Festival, we've decided to reach out to Canadian writers to find out how they begin their work. Today's author is Sally Cooper who spoke to us about her novel Tell Everything. Click here...

Excerpt: Tell Everything by Sally Cooper

We are collaborating with the Luminato Festival, and reaching out to Canadian writers to find out about the decisions they made when choosing to open their most recent works.Here is an excerpt from Sally Coopers' latest work Tell Everything. Afterwards, be sure to check out our Q&A with her about how she chose...

Twitter Challenge this Friday

Be sure to book this Friday off. You're going to be glued to your screen once more for the next Canada Writes Twitter Challenge. ...

Bait the barbed hook: Strong Beginnings with Miranda Hill

"...if you have a blank page, just write on it: what you start with in the writing is not necessarily where the reader will begin reading."In light of our collaboration with Toronto's festival of the mind, Luminato, we have reached out to Canadian writers to find out how they begin their...

Excerpt: Sleeping Funny by Miranda Hill

We are collaborating with Toronto's festival of the mind Luminato, and reaching out to Canadian writers to find out about the decisions they made when choosing to open their most recent works.Here is an excerpt from Miranda Hill's Sleeping Funny. Afterwards, be sure to read our Q&A with her about how she decided to start...

Trusting the Writer: Strong Beginnings with Andrew Kaufman

Starting with the end and ending with the beginning. Who's to say which is which?In light of our collaboration with Toronto's festival of the mind, Luminato, we have reached out to Canadian writers to find out how they begin their work! Today's author is Andrew Kaufman, who spoke to us about his novel Born...

Excerpt: Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman

We are collaborating with the Luminato Festival, and reaching out to Canadian writers to find out about the decisions they made when choosing to open their most recent works.Here is an excerpt from Andrew Kaufman's latest novel Born Weird. Afterwards, be sure to check out our Q&A with him about its opening.***...

The many faces of Peter Mansbridge

Canada Writes has been talking to some of Canada's best known cartoonists and graphic novelists on the different techniques, challenges, and advantages of working with both text and drawings. We asked author and illustrator Matthew Forsythe to send us a drawing tip. (We swear we didn't say anything about Peter Mansbridge.) Here's...

No Forty Pages of Rocks: Strong Beginnings with Lauren B. Davis

In light of our collaboration with the Luminato Festival, we've decided to reach out to Canadian writers to find out how they begin their work. Today's author is Lauren B. Davis who spoke to us about her recent novel The Empty Room. Click here to read the first few pages!* * *...

Excerpt: The Empty Room by Lauren B. Davis

We are collaborating with the Luminato Festival, and reaching out to Canadian writers to find out about the decisions they made when choosing to open their most recent works.Here is an excerpt from Lauren B. Davis' most recent novel The Empty Room. Afterwards, be sure to check out our Q&A with her about its opening...

Patrick deWitt: Creating the neurotic cowboy

In his award-winning 2011 novel The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt takes on the Western stereotype of the hard, gritty cowboy and turns it on its head with the sensitive, neurotic hit man Eli Sisters. We reached out to Patrick to find out how he began this most unconventional of Westerns. Click...

Excerpt: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Poor Eli Sisters. The hit man, as usual, gets the raw end of the deal when his brother, Charlie, gets a superb horse—leaving Eli stuck with the overweight Tub. Here is an excerpt of the very beginning of Patrick deWitt's novel The Sisters Brothers. Afterwards, be sure to check out our Q&A with Patrick about...

Who should win our "Caption this Comic" challenge?

We asked you to tell us the story you see in Sarah Leavitt's illustrations. And you did. You told us stories of senators and perfumes and dating and allergies and so much more. Then our illustrious judge, Peggy Burns from Drawn & Quarterly, chose her top five captions out of close to 200 entries. Now...

First, the coffee: Strong Beginnings with Matthew Tierney

Whether you are starting a short story, an essay or a poem, coffee seems like a pretty great companion when staring at a blank white page (or screen). In light of our collaboration with Luminato, Toronto's festival of the mind, we are reaching out to Canadian writers to find out how they begin...

Excerpt: Probably Inevitable by Matthew Tierney

We are collaborating with Festival of the mind Luminato, and reaching out to Canadian writers to find out about the decisions they made when choosing to open their most recent works.Here is an excerpt from Matthew Tierney's collection of poems Probably Inevitable. Afterwards, be sure to check out our Q&A with him about...

Start Building the Raft: Strong Beginnings with Grace O'Connell

It doesn't seem to matter whether you are writing an essay, a letter, a poem or a book (or even this post), beginnings seem to be the hardest part. Sometimes you have to dive in, start with what you know, and often the beginning is, surprisingly, the end. In light of...

Excerpt: Magnified World by Grace O'Connell

We are collaborating with Toronto's festival of the mind Luminato, and reaching out to Canadian writers to find out about the decisions they made when choosing to open their most recent works.Here is an excerpt of Grace O'Connell's book Magnified World. Afterwards, be sure to read our Q&A with her about how she decided to...

New series: Strong beginnings in literature

The mind is a fertile playground. So let's have a picnic!Toronto's Luminato is a festival of the mind—a celebration of music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature and film. One of this year's offerings is a Literary Picnic on the theme of "beginnings". We thought we'd take a page from their book and...

Which comes first, text or images?

To make a comic, be it a short strip or a graphic novel, you have to do two things: write and draw. For those of us who came close to failing art class in elementary school (like a certain unnamed Canada Writes editor whose teacher was particularly unimpressed with her “abstract”...

A comic collaboration: Sarah Leavitt and Cyril Doisneau

While you have been scratching your heads trying to come up with the best text to accompany Sarah Leavitt's beautiful illustrations, your francophone counterparts across the country have been working on a similar challenge with illustrations by Cyril Doisneau. We put Sarah Leavitt to the test and she came up with...

Creative Nonfiction longlist to be announced June 25

Before everyone shifts into summer mode and takes off on vacation, we wanted to update you on our literary awards announcements.Thirty lucky people will find their names on the longlist for the CBC’s Creative Nonfiction Prize on the morning of Tuesday, June 25. Will you be among them? There's only three...

Caption This Comic: Daddy Avoids the Slammer

Looking for inspiration for our comics writing challenge?  Check out this submission by Piers Rae from Vancouver, BC. Find out how to participate in the Caption This Comic Challenge! ...

Caption This Comic Judge: Peggy Burns from Drawn & Quarterly

Meet the judge of the Caption This Comic Challenge: Peggy Burns, the Associate Publisher of Drawn & Quarterly who has been keeping fanboys in check for over 10 years....